Chromatin structure of human chromosomal fragile sites

Cancer Lett. 2006 Jan 28;232(1):70-8. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2005.07.040. Epub 2005 Oct 17.


Cytological appearance of fragile sites as non-staining gaps in metaphase chromosomes suggests an abnormality in chromatin structure. Studies of fragile sites at three levels of chromosome organization: (1) examining the ability of DNA derived from fragile sites to form nucleosomes-the basic structural element of chromosomes, (2) probing the arrangement of nucleosome arrays over fragile sites in fragile site-expressing cell lines, and (3) visualizing fragile sites in higher-order chromatin organization, reveal an unusual chromatin structure associated with fragile sites. This fragile site-associated chromatin structure might play an active role in DNA metabolic processes such as replication, transcription, repair and recombination, which are closely linked to the instability of fragile sites.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / chemistry*
  • Chromosome Fragile Sites / genetics*
  • Chromosome Fragility / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Nucleosomes / genetics*


  • Chromatin
  • Nucleosomes